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3,995 flats available in first BTO exercise this year

SINGAPORE — The first Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise of the year will see nearly 4,000 new flats up for sale in five projects located in Bukit Batok, Hougang and Geylang.

SINGAPORE — The first Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise of the year will see nearly 4,000 new flats up for sale in five projects located in Bukit Batok, Hougang and Geylang.

This is the first batch of the 16,900 BTO flats that the Housing and Development Board (HDB) has planned for this year, with the next launch in May offering another 4,040 flats in Clementi, Punggol North, Sembawang and Tampines. About 4,000 to 5,000 flats will also be available for sale at a concurrent Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise in May, the HDB said yesterday.

From this month’s sales exercise onwards, flat applicants who intend to take a housing loan from the HDB will need to produce a valid HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) Letter when they book a flat, instead of four months later during the signing of the Agreement for Lease. The move was introduced to help flat buyers better plan their finances.

“It will minimise any disappointment should they be unable to obtain a sufficient loan to proceed with the flat purchase subsequently, resulting in cancellation of their flat application and forfeiture of the option fee paid,” the HDB said.

The 3,995 flats in this exercise consist of studio apartments, two- to five-room flats, as well as Three-Generation (3Gen) flats. West Rock @ Bukit Batok will be the first project to offer 3Gen flats in the area for married or courting couples who wish to live with their parents. Multigenerational families who wish to live close to one another can also apply for flats in West Edge @ Bukit Batok, MacPherson Spring, Buangkok ParkVista or Buangkok Tropica, under the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme where flats have been set aside for this group.

ERA key executive officer Eugene Lim welcomed the new HLE Letter requirement, noting that some potential buyers book first only to find out later that they are not able to qualify for a loan quantum that they had hoped for. “This is because the monthly instalment for all loans with regard to the purchase of an HDB flat must not exceed the 30 per cent Mortgage Servicing Ratio,” he said.

The requirement could encourage buyers to buy flats in non-mature estates instead of those in mature estates, which may be beyond their means, and subscription rates for BTO flats may fall. “However, this is a rational move as it ensures that purchasers buy something within their budget,” Mr Lim said.

Online applications for flats in this month’s exercise can now be submitted on the HDB InfoWEB until next Tuesday.

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